Elementary Director, 3-5
Thomas DiNapoli’s support of public education and teachers continues to be unwavering and extremely inspirational.
As educators we should be honored that New York State’s chief fiscal officer, whose job is to ensure that State and local governments use taxpayer money effectively and efficiently to promote the common good, stated, “I am proud as your Comptroller to say that investing in quality public schools and teachers is still the best investment taxpayers can make, and it gives us the highest rate of return for our state and for our nation.”
He credited NYSUT’s very focused activism in Albany as instrumental in advocating for the increase of 1.5 billion dollars in State aid as well as the return of 434 million dollars in the gap elimination adjustment. He acknowledged that school districts, faced with the 2% tax cap, still have budget challenges ahead and are expecting teachers to do more with less resources and added responsibilities. He described the school audits his office conducts and their effort to make schools more efficient and accountable. He pointed out that charter schools are also included in the audits. He explained that the audits are done to protect taxpayer dollars.
He lauded the contributions that both inservice and retired public employees make to the New York State economy and stressed the importance of continuing our commitment to our retirees, as “80% of our NYS public retirees continue to live in the state and that means they are spending their benefit dollars in our state.” He reported that the NYS’s Public Pension Fund is one of the best-funded large state pension plans in America. He credited our well-funded pensions as a contributing factor cited by Moody’s, Fitch & Standard & Poor’s in an upgraded NYS bond rating. DiNapoli assured the audience that on his watch, he would stand up to any challenges to our defined benefit pension plan and not allow them to be replaced by 401(k)-style defined contribution plans.
He emphasized, “Teachers need to remain vigilant, as attempts to undermine teacher unions and public sector unions are underway in the national debate.” He offered himself as an advocate, to be called upon, “…when battles arise, to speak out on the essential role that unions play in making a better and stronger state and nation.” He encouraged teachers to continue to make their voices heard on behalf of students and public schools, and stated that he looks forward to standing shoulder to shoulder with us.